So I’ve talked about a lot of studio stuff throughout these pages and I thought it’s time again to show off what I’ve been doing with it. A few months ago my friend and drum teacher John and I decided to put together a synth project. There is a ton of Blues going on in our area out here in the country. Unfortunately that’s pretty much all there is. For a Prog Rock guy like myself I found that depressing.
John suggested we try our hands at playing other instruments than our drums and put together some songs from the early 80’s that we can perform live. Well, we’re not at the perform live stage yet but we have managed to put a few songs together that we’ve been jamming regularly.
One of those tunes is Life In Tokyo by Japan. We’re both Japan fans and that tune, with its Georgio Moroder back track and kicking bass line was high on our list of cover tunes. Unfortunately there was very little in the way of MIDI material for the song so we had to build it from scratch.
John got us started by carefully sculpting the flanged back-track using the Sunrizer app on an iPad. This was no small feat and I think he did an excellent job at replicating it.
Next we recorded John playing the drums on my Pearl kit. He muffled the hell out of the snare until he got the sound he was looking for.
Meanwhile I was trying to find a bass playing buddy to play the funky bass line for us. This didn’t work out so I found an awesome YouTube video and learned to play it myself. Piece of cake!
Next we used Native Instrument’s Monark synthesizer to get the sweeping Zzzzz sound that rides the back track. I love Monark. It has a fat, rich sound
A Tubular Bell setting on the Yamaha DX-7 provides some accents in the background.
Going into the sax solo we use Arturia’s iMini for the iPad. I tweaked a good sound and then play with it using the X / Y pads in Perform mode for the funky effect.
The sax solo was performed on a MIDI keyboard running into an EMU ES-2000 sampler. That ancient wonder has some really nice sounding samples. John also updated the unit’s memory giving it the capabilities of the ES-4000. Three saxophone samples were used to create the solo.
Finally, I laid down the vocal track. My apologies for being a bit sharp or flat in places. I’m a rookie and am still working on my vocals. I’m using Native Instruments Solid Series EQ and Dynamics processor. I’m also using Guitar Rig 5’s Reverb and Twin Delay.
The whole thing was mixed using Cockos Software’s Reaper DAW. We’re also using Reaper for live performances (when the time comes). Stay Tuned.
So, enough said…